Today Julia went to get her oil changed in her car. She was driving with a local Dominican who sold her the car. He asked if she would like to see "THE REAL SANTO DOMINGO" These are photos from their experience.
Streets like this are quite common throughout the city.  
Yesterday I was reading in the news about the Dengue Fever on a local newpaper website. Here is what they were saying:

Dengue death rate too high
The Dominican Republic's death rate from dengue is 15% higher than the accepted average. International organizations quote 1% as the typical death rate for victims of the mosquito-borne disease, but in the Dominican Republic the fatality rate is currently at 16%, with 27 deaths out of 3,700 suspected cases. Yesterday, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) representative for the DR, Cristina Noguiera, said that she was worried about the situation and attributed the high number of fatalities to poor handling of the cases. She also pointed to the lack of potable water and deficiencies in hygiene and garbage collections in the country. Noguiera said that a lack of basic hygiene in the Dominican Republic allows mosquitoes to breed, and she called on mayors to help in the fight to eliminate breeding areas. She added that "if there is adequate handling of cases, only 1% of the patients might die, and the nearly 16% that we have in the Dominican Republic is really pitiful". Public Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez reminded reporters of the long-standing campaigns that emphasize the use of covers and chlorine in water storage vessels. He also mentioned the poor handling of some cases, such as a child who was brought to Santo Domingo from La Romana by car, with a blocked saline drip. The boy died as he reached the Children's Hospital, and the case is under investigation.

This Photo shows the extensive amount of trash and standing water on one street... now imagine that multiplied by hundreds. 

It is said of Santo Domingo that there is no middle class, only the poor and the rich. This area is considered the upper class of the poor. Julia said they had no floors in their house. I would imagine then that they have no running water either.

This is a typical photo of the country side of the DR. When Marvin and I drove home from Bayahibe we saw much of the same things. However, this photo was taken in the same area as the ones above.

You have seen photos of our house and the area where we live. Now you see photos of areas such as this. The difference is so extreme! Julia wants to go around the city taking more photos. I will see if she can send them to me to update the blog too!

Photography courtesy of Julia 


Boca Chica

This past Sunday we were invited to go to Boca Chica. It is a local beach about the distance to Lake Michigan from GR. The public beach is really crazy and we have been told not to visit because you get hassled by the souvenir sellers.  We ended up going to a private resident - in the picture below it would be located to the far right. *this photo is from the internet

When we were invited to go we though we'd get out to the beach around 11 or so. She ended us up picking at 7:25AM! We were to the beach before 8am. We really enjoyed the day- we went kayaking in the ocean, swimming and sunbathing. The family had 2 boys- 7th grade and 10th grade. Marvin taught them all about being "BOYS"!  In the evening we went out for Pizza- Lindsay really enjoyed that.
We did miss church but we were able to fellowship with the family!


You Just have to ask for it!

Today was the last of three days of conferences we attended for professional development. During the conferences they had about 20 exhibitors pushing their products and such. Something you should know about Dominicans- they don't really like things like this, they don't do exhibits, they'd rather enjoy coffee break and free muffins. Well...... me being the thrifty, american that I am - love all the freebies I can get! I went table to table collecting pens, sticky notes, maps, folders... and everything else I must use up before coming back to the US because I can't fit it in my luggage :) haha  But at the end of most exhibits, the presenters want to get rid of their supplies, displays, books, resources, and the like so they don't have to travel back home with them. So ...... I went to each table asking if they were giving away any of their supplies. I loaded up! (Dominicans at this time are on their 3rd cup of coffee)

Here's my loot: (i wish i could sent a photo)
14 pictures books about socials studies 
World History Mapping Activity book
My Geography and Location book
101 whiteboard activities
Interesting facts about the USA 
All about the Constitution
Textbook on GOVT
Textbook on The American Past - History
10 pens
2 packs of sticky notes
4 folders
2 notebooks
And a bag to put it all in 

I arrived a little late to the next sessions because I was scavenging for more giveaways. My friend had saved me a seat. When I walked in you should have seen the look on their faces.... "where did you get all that stuff?" My reply: You just have to ask for it ! 


Water if flowing

      Drinking at the springs of living water, Happy now am I, my soul they satisfy; Drinking at the springs of living water, O wonderful and bountiful supply.
Tanker truck with water =$35
bottled water = $5.70
total number of hours with out water = 78.... 

Marvin showered for about 20 minutes using the "pink scratchy" as Nate calls it. 
We were able to flush our toilet (our bathroom still smells like an outhouse in August)
We did the dishes... and enjoyed it!

Thanks for praying for us these past few days have been a little trying! Hopefully things will get back to normal now.


No Water!

On Monday afternoon when we got home from school there was a slip of paper in our gate. We didn't understand what it was saying... it looked like something had been shut off but we had electric, we had water, we had all utilities. Then at about 6pm we lost power so we began to investigate this "slip of paper" a little further!
We figured out, by the powers vested in Google translator, that our water had been shut off because of non- payment. Well if we had to pay our water bill it would have been paid in full the moment we received our bill but we don't so I turned the bill into school in late August, early September. School then failed to pay the bill at all. On Monday we called our school contact and they paid the bill then said our water would be on with in 24-48 hours. We GASPED!
My thought for today: If only it would have been a max of 48 hours... it is now going on 52 hours of no water! Our reserve has been bone dry since Tuesday morning. We tried to call the water company our selves and they said at the earliest tomorrow morning but it could then been another 24-48 hours...... Going with out a shower in any country is hard enough but imagine being in a country where you sweat when you think.

This is a photo to show we are trying to keep our spirits high, in reality this really stinks- literally!

Marvin showering in the Rain. 
Photo courtesy of Julia and her camera. 


No more photos :(

So Sunday afternoon Julia and I were going to go to Colonial Zone to hang out, get some coffee, whatever. Basically we were bored and we've been there before so we thought why not take the car out for a spin!
Julia pulled the car out on to the street... see below.

I came out about 5 minutes later and went to get into the car. Approaching from the front of the vehicle were 3 motorcyclists. Two had already passed the car and then I went to get into our car. The 3rd motorcyclist drove very close to the car, proceeded to pry open the door and grab my purse. See image below:

* Now the picture above suggests I was standing outside of the car- but I was really inside. It's just hard to draw it that way on 'paint'. Back to the story... I struggled for a few minutes. Julia and I both yelled a bunch. Marvin tried to scale the iron fence behind us (because he was inside- not going with us). The 'assultor' took off and so did his accomplises. 2 Colomado men- delivery boys- on motorcycles were also there watching the whole thing. They didn't do much. They attempted to drive off  to find them but came back seconds later to say they were gone.
So I lost my purse including my camera,  our house keys !, my debit cards (thank Dave Ramsey I don't have credit cards), my Michigan drivers liscense, 2 packs of gum and the worst thing of all ... My Dave Ramsey Envelopes. Luckily my refill day for Dave Ramsey is Monday's and this occured on a Sunday... so the assulters escaped with only a few hundred pesos which is about $10 or so... :)
I was luck not to lose anything of "value" ie: passport, travel documents etc.

We had to have our locks changed last night to avoid any break ins and such- since they had the gate keys and our house keys. We also now have a night watchman outside of our house for the next few weeks.

It stinks about the camera though so you will all have to suffer with my links, clipart, and photoshop via "paint"

We are all safe and that is what counts!

** My mom suggested I email Dave Ramsey and tell him what happened... maybe he will send me a new envelope system :)


Leave your comments!

I believe I have fixed the issue with leaving comments on our blog. So please comment away! Marvin and I love reading your comments and seeing what is going on with you as well!

Happy Blogging!


1030 Friday Night

It's only 1030. I can't go to bed yet. Plus it's FRIDAY! Marvin is zonked out since 930... 4th graders must have warn him out! Julia is on skype, so that leaves me, what shall I do? .... UPDATE MY BLOG!
Snagged from Simple Women's blog- head over to check it out.

FOR TODAY...October 9th, 2009
Outside my window... hot, sticky weather, geckos, and Mariachi music coming from the local bodega

I am thinking.... Marvin is very mad because the Mariachi link I just uploaded stated playing and woke him from a deep slumber.... he was all in a tizzy!

I am thankful for... the new car our roommate just got.... Toyota Altezza

I am wearing...my pj's... shorts and a tank top

I am remembering... how much i used to complain about the cold in Michigan and now how much i miss it!

I am going... to go to sleep soon

I am reading...Number the Stars, with the students I tutor

I am hoping... to go to the beach tomorrow

Noticing that... my feet get very dirty here.

Pondering these words..."teacher... I'll bring it in Monday! I Promise!"

From the kitchen... comes the noise of a cricket that is locked in some drawer or cupboard

Around the house... all is quiet, except that cricket

One of my favorite things~ Sunday Night Pizza with Flock group :) Miss you all!

A Picture from my album ...

Cause I know Betsy & Andrea read my blog! :)


MY DR Deal!

So while reading a friends blog about how she got 30+ free "gatorades" and another friends about some great deal they got on chapstick I began to feel very sad.
Then I began to remember the good ole days when I could budget $150 a month for groceries and even then I wouldn't spend it. Now we spend around $75 a week! and we have $60 for eatting out because their variety here isn't as good.
One amazing deal we were able to snag was CHEEP CHICKEN! Marvin actually found the 'steal' at the supermarket. The chicken was mismarked... RD$3, which translats to about 11 cents in US money! :) The best part- it wasn't spoiled either.... haha, you laugh but it happens. I guess they don't have a USDA here .
Best chicken I've had since I've been here !


My Crazy Seniors

Today my 9th grade class had a bake sale. We ordered Burger King and then had the school buy from us to make some money for their class. When lunch was over, I usually have to go to class with the Seniors. However, I got held up in the cafeteria and was about 20 mins late to class. This is what I came in to find...
One of my seniors was teaching the class. He had a diagram and everything on the board! Shocking how eager they are to learn. It made my heart so glad! :)

Then my 9th graders didn't have a teacher for the hour so I pulled them in with the Seniors and they sat along the back wall! They were a little scared I think... they sat so quietly!

Mr. C -the "student teacher" just kept on teaching for the day! He held their attention all hour. Students were actually taking notes and asking questions in class!

At the end of the hour. Mr. C rewarded the class with no homework for the weekend!

I'm so thankful to have these kids this year. They are wonderful and I love my job here!

THE CRAZY SENIOR PART IS BELOW! So after the hour of Mr. C teaching and the 12th and 9th grade being in the same class.... I was supposed to have a prep hour (no students). However, at the last minute I was told the Seniors didn't have a teacher for the next hour- no substitute and I was asked if they could stay in my class- sure I said but someone owes me BIG TIME. (This is the 2nd time in 2 weeks this has happened to me)
The Seniors had a study hall. And as you know from high school that study halls at the end of the day, especially a Friday, ...well they don't have a whole lot of studying going on.

They were dancing!

They were teaching me spanish- which I didn't video.
They had a great time and so did I!

Hasta Luego